5,875 research outputs found

    Industrial Terrorism and the Unmaking of New Deal Labor Law

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    The passage of the Wagner (National Labor Relations) Act of 1935 represented an unprecedented effort to guarantee American workers basic labor rights--the rights to organize unions, to provoke meaningful collective bargaining, and to strike. Previous attempts by workers and government administrators to realize these rights in the workplace met with extraordinary, often violent, resistance from powerful industrial employers, whose repressive measures were described by government officials as a system of industrial terrorism. Although labor scholars have acknowledged these practices and paid some attention to the way they initially frustrated labor rights and influenced the jurisprudence and politics of labor relations in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the literature has neither adequately described the extent and intensity of this phenomenon nor fully explored its effects. This Article remedies that shortcoming. Focusing on three industries where the practice of industrial terrorism was especially well developed and its influence especially pronounced, this Article shows how the practitioners of industrial terrorism and their allies in Congress were able to turn the legacy of violence and disorder, which they authored by their violent resistance to the Wagner Act, into the basis of an extraordinary counterattack on labor rights. It shows how this attack culminated in 1947 with the enactment of the profoundly reactionary Taft-Hartley Act and remade the landscape of American labor relations

    Workers Disarmed: The Campaign Against Mass Picketing and the Dilemma of Liberal Labor Rights

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    In the late 1930s and early 1940s, mass picketing, characterized by large numbers of workers congregating in common protest at or near their employers\u27 establishments, emerged as a crucial weapon in a historic campaign by American workers to realize basic labor rights and build an enduring labor movement in the face of strident resistance from a powerful business community. So potent a weapon did mass picketing prove that these business interests, aided by allies at all levels of government, moved quickly to ban the tactic. From the real-world complexities of labor conflict, this coalition forged a simplistic, analytically dubious, but difficult to contest picture of mass picketing as inherently violent, oppressive, and unjustifiable, and constructed a legal regime that proscribed the tactic even when it was not accompanied by overt violence. By the late 1940s, mass picketing was effectively banned by legislatures, courts, and police. Thereafter, it ceased to serve as an effective means of labor protest. Although overlooked by labor scholars and legal historians, this successful crusade against mass picketing was a crucial event in American legal and social history. For it not only anchored a broad-ranging attack on labor rights that culminated in the 1947 enactment of the Taft-Hartley Act; it also disarmed the labor movement, leaving unions and workers unable to consolidate the rights they seized in the 1930s and 1940s and impotent against renewed attacks on labor rights that began to unfold in the 1970s and that have left the labor movement shattered. This article tells the story of mass picketing as it shaped the content of labor rights and the fortunes of organized labor from the 1930s through the present day. In so doing, the article discerns in the history of mass picketing a fundamental dilemma inherent in liberal labor rights: that liberal labor law can neither reconcile itself to the kind of working class militancy manifested in mass picketing nor survive without it

    Industrial Terrorism and the Unmaking of New Deal Labor Law

    Get PDF
    The passage of the Wagner (National Labor Relations) Act of 1935 represented an unprecedented effort to guarantee American workers basic labor rights--the rights to organize unions, to provoke meaningful collective bargaining, and to strike. Previous attempts by workers and government administrators to realize these rights in the workplace met with extraordinary, often violent, resistance from powerful industrial employers, whose repressive measures were described by government officials as a system of industrial terrorism. Although labor scholars have acknowledged these practices and paid some attention to the way they initially frustrated labor rights and influenced the jurisprudence and politics of labor relations in the late 1930s and early 1940s, the literature has neither adequately described the extent and intensity of this phenomenon nor fully explored its effects. This Article remedies that shortcoming. Focusing on three industries where the practice of industrial terrorism was especially well developed and its influence especially pronounced, this Article shows how the practitioners of industrial terrorism and their allies in Congress were able to turn the legacy of violence and disorder, which they authored by their violent resistance to the Wagner Act, into the basis of an extraordinary counterattack on labor rights. It shows how this attack culminated in 1947 with the enactment of the profoundly reactionary Taft-Hartley Act and remade the landscape of American labor relations

    Capitalism, Social Marginality, and the Rule of Law\u27s Uncertain Fate in Modern Society

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    The rule of law is liberalism\u27s key juridical aspiration. Yet its norms, centered on the principles of legality and legal generality, are being compromised all over the political and legal landscape. For decades, the dominant explanation of this worrying condition has focused mainly on the rise of the welfare state and its apparent incompatibility with the rule of law. But this approach, though shared by a politically diverse range of scholars, is outdated and misconceives the problem. A central function of the modem state has always been to prevent capitalism\u27s inherent tendencies toward social marginalization from devolving into general social crisis. This involves prosecuting an agenda of social control aimed at the socially marginalized. For much of the twentieth century, the welfare state represented the dominant means by which the American state advanced this agenda. While not unproblematic, the welfare state\u27s reign in this regard proved at least relatively compatible with the rule of law. Over the last three decades, though, the state\u27s primary means of responding to the problem of marginality has shifted substantially, away from the welfare state toward a reliance on the criminal justice system and its institutions to advance this agenda. This shift in the dynamics of social control, originating in both ideology and political economy, is evident in the retrenchment of the welfare state and in concurrent changes in the nature of criminal justice that reflect its growing concern with regulating social marginality. This process is central to understanding the rule of law\u27s fate in modem society, as it has accorded to the criminal justice system functions that render adherence to rule of law norms increasingly untenable in this most important of contexts. This argument not only refocuses the debate about the rule of law\u27s fate; it also challenges the entrenched view of the relationship between the rule of law and the welfare state and, ironically, given the rule of law\u27s origins in capitalism, it recasts capitalism itself as the more fundamental problem for the rule of law in modem society. For it is in capitalism that both social marginality and the state\u27s underlying impulse to control this phenomenon are based

    My Coworker, My Enemy: Solidarity, Workplace Control, and the Class Politics of Title VII

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    A Different Kind of Labor Law: Vagrancy Law and the Regulation of Harvest Labor, 1913-1924

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    Victims\u27 Rights, Rule of Law, and the Threat to Liberal Jurisprudence

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    The Concept of Less Eligibility and the Social Function of Prison Violence in Class Society

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